Welcome to Canberra

I hate early mornings. I was up till after 1am sorting this blog out and copying pictures to Taketo’s laptop as his camera had died earlier in the day. My flight was at 6am, so I had to catch the 4:45am shuttle bus. Argh.

Just to add to the fun, I couldn’t get to sleep as I was too wound up about maybe missing the bus. When I did nod off, the guy opposite not only snored but shouted in his sleep! Something about “kill all the English ones” (I swear). This didn’t help me get back to sleep…

I was out of bed before my alarm went off, grabbed all my stuff and ate two oranges for breakfast. I then hitched all my bags, spotted another tear on one of my rucksacks (I need a bag repair shop toot sweet) and waddled to the cathedral, arriving at the same time as the coach.

The journey to Canberra may have been uneventful or we may have been held up. I don’t know. I slept through both short flights and staggered off the second at 8:45am feeling like someone had been using my eyeballs to mix cement. One thing I do remember is that I’ve now had three Virgin Blue flights in a row with no jokes fromthe flight crew. Not good enough!

Unbeknownst to me, Canberra underwent the most severe storms in ten years last night. Hailstones the size of marbles still lay on the streets when I arrived, despite the temperatures pushing thirty degrees by lunchtime. Many shops in the town centre were closed due to flood damage, as are several rooms in the YHA Central which meant they couldn’t check me in when I arrived. Not their fault!

I whiled away the day between the War Museum and wandering around the Parliamentary area. The War Museum is superb – right up there with the Imperial War Museum in London. Anzac Parade, the road which leads to the museum, has numerous memorials along it dedicated to various conflicts and forces. The Vietnam memorial in particular is a stunning piece of work. Water flows, a large blown-up black and white image dominates and phrases from radio conversations are imprinted on one wall like fragments of history. You can almost hear them being shouted in your ear.

The Lonely Planet I have describes the State Library as “massively symmetrical” which is simply just bad English. However, it’s both massive and symmetrical. That is, it’s like a huge, boring 1970’s concrete block. A shame as so many other buildings in Canberra are really nice.

The oddest one has to be the museum which looks like it was put together from plastic Meccanno and then melted.

I grabbed a decent lunch from an Irish pub a few blocks from work – $9.90 for a pint of Coke and a large chicken schnitzel and chips. Just what I needed.

The YHA checked me in fine when I returned, and I’m sharing a dorm with six people so far (more keep arriving). I’ll pop my earplugs in tonight, just in case!

I’m off for dinner now – beans on toast sounds good – and then hopefully meeting Kat (yet another online friend) for a beer or three.

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